Was it Potable?: Ais Kacang, the Food Pyramid of Shaved Ices

Senayan, Jakarta- Ais Kacang (Air Batu Campur=ABC)

Senayan, Jakarta- Ais Kacang (Air Batu Campur=ABC)

Sweet corn.  Evaporated milk.  Red kidney beans.  Agar-agar.  Azuki.  Ice cream.  Fruit syrup.  Peking duck.  Patatas bravas.  Sole meunière.  Where do the toppings stop??  

Well, if you knew from the first few ingredients that this was ais kacang (bean ice), or air batu campur (ABC, pronounced ah-bay-chay; mixed {rock} ice), a Malaysiaporean shaved ice dessert, you also probably knew that…there is in fact no limit to what could be placed in it.

Originally, the dish was a simple tandem of hand-shaved (sort of) ice and red beans.  Then, someone (probably) decided that whoever christened kidney beans and ice a true dessert was clearly not of sound mind, so sweeter items, such as fruit syrups, ice cream and I guess sweet corn were added.  Nowadays, a motorized ice shaver quickly expels the ice, with the vendor choosing from an assortment of edibles from the food pyramid to heap on.  Considering the main ingredient and ais kacang’s tropical origins, the dish is best eaten immediately after serving.

If you’re a bit underwhelmed by this mushroom cloud of a dessert, you could play Russian roulette with it- have two of three bowls of ais kacang made from bottled water, and a third from the local tap water.  Or, this equally maligned thought: Doesn’t the picture resemble  something that should be on cigarette boxes as a warning?

Have you tried ais kacang?  Does the surfeit of various textures make you want to rapidly proceed to eat another dessert?


– I’d like to extend a message of happy holidays/happy time-off days to everyone, and enjoy the new year’s festivities as well!

This entry was posted in East & Southeast Asia, Food & Drink, Indonesia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Was it Potable?: Ais Kacang, the Food Pyramid of Shaved Ices

  1. expatlingo says:

    I feel a little ill just looking at it. Happy New Year to you too!

  2. ClovisC says:

    I can’t believe (or perhaps just don’t want to believe) that you completely neglected to mention Bellagio.

  3. Looks delish! I’m going non-pc and saying Merry Christmas!

  4. Abby Dowdle says:

    Quit informative , i never tried “ais kacang”. I been to Malaysia, heard that its Malaysian desert and some one says red bean ice.

  5. Pingback: Knowledge is Power, Particularly When You’re Hungry | Collateral Lettuce

  6. Pingback: Tirana’s Piramida (Albania) « buildingmybento


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